One of the most enviable things in Major League Baseball is depth. Especially depth that is young, talented, and cost-controlled for years and years, quality depth is something that often separates the good teams from the great ones.
The Red Sox have just that on the left side of their infield, both at the major and minor league level. Will Middlebrooks, Jose Iglesias, and Stephen Drew have combined to be a fairly productive group thus far into the season, with all three showing the potential for continued and future success. In the minors, shortstop/third baseman Xander Bogaerts is one of the premier offensive prospects in the game and Devin Marrero, also a shortstop, was the Sox’s first round selection in last year’s draft. However, there is a name that is only now being mentioned with the previous class of minor league infielders due to his surprising performance this season. And his name is Garin Cecchini.
Cecchini, a fourth round pick by the Sox in 2010, has exploded as an elite prospect this year with his production at High-A Salem. Hitting .354/.469/.552, Cecchini has shot up prospect rankings including a 23rd place spot (ESPN Insider required) among noted scout Keith Law’s top 25 prospect list. Additionally, with the reputation of being a solid defender at the hot corner, it is unlikely that Cecchini will have to move off of the position. Therefore, Cecchini’s name only further adds to the foreseeable logjam of third basemen for the Sox.
Clearly, Cecchini’s emergence has made future projections of the Red Sox infield into a giant mess. With basically five guys (Drew should be gone by this time) fighting for two spots, pressure is sure to mount on each player for playing time. With that said, I’ve always been a believer that pressure brings out the best in players and hopefully, things will work themselves out over time. Perhaps even, one of these players could be the major piece in a pivotal deadline deal, securing both a present upgrade and alleviation from a future headache. But for now, appreciate the problem that the Red Sox are currently saddled with. It’s a luxury most teams don’t have.